Four-year-old mare Aimee’s Jewel scored a stunning win in Wednesday’s Group 3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton under a gem of a ride from Lisa Allpress. Prepared at Stratford by Trudy Keegan, the daughter of Proisir was having just her fifth raceday start.
Snagged back to the rear of the field from a tricky draw (barrier 11), Allpress saved ground closer to the rails before presenting the mare inside the final furlong, finishing over the top of her close relation Irish Girl with Excelleration running on well for third.
“It’s amazing, I can’t breathe and I have been told to settle down,” an ecstatic Keegan said. “I was thinking ‘wow Lisa, you’re brave’ as she was riding for luck. Lisa knows how good she is, that is why she was there. “She is not just special to me, she is special to a lot of people. She has just got that something extra.”
Stratford is set to be rocking in the wake of the win and Aimee’s Jewel may soon be bound for an even sterner task. “I’ll be throwing such a big party,” said Keegan, who part owns the mare in conjunction with husband Vaughan and Troy Pannell. “We have had to keep upping her work to keep ahead of her, she has been so above herself and so long as she comes through this, we may go to the Captain Cook Stakes (Group 1, 1600m).”
Towering at 17 hands, Keegan has taken a patient approach with Aimee’s Jewel to allow her to develop into her big frame and patience has paid dividends with the mare now the winner of three of her five starts. “She is just amazing with the feeling that she can give you when you can settle her and she has got such a powerful finish,” Allpress said.
“I saw her at the jump outs and they’d asked me to ride her and I’d taken another ride that day. “As soon as I saw her cross the line I went straight around to Trudy and asked if I could please ride her next time, so it will be hard to get me off her. “I think she is untapped and she just does what she has to, so onwards and upwards.”
Bred by Suncroft Bloodstock, Aimee’s Jewel was purchased for $10,000 as a yearling by Victorian Troy Pannell from the draft of Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore at the 2018 Karaka May Sale. Out of the stakes winning Colombia mare Aimee’s Idol, Aimee’s Jewel becomes the third Group winner for promising Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir.